How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land? A Comparative Analysis of Clarence Macartney and Harry Emerson Fosdick and the changing role of the early twentieth century American Protestant pastorate Open Access

Hunt, Paul Austin (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/vh53ww37b?locale=en
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Abstract

The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy in the Presbyterian Church began with two dueling sermons in the summer of 1922. After liberal preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick delivered the sermon "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?", a fundamentalist preacher named Clarence Macartney responded with his own rebuttal in the form of a sermon entitled "Shall Unbelief Win?". Because of their theological antagonism, as represented in this episode, the similarities between these two preachers have been overshadowed in the prevailing historical narrative. Both men not only agreed on a whole host of issues outside of theology, but their shared experiences in the 1920s also speak to the changing role of the American Protestant pastorate in the first few decades of the twentieth century. Confronted by social and technological change, Macartney and Fosdick represent a class of pulpit innovators who were able to find success because of their willingness and ability to connect with middle class Americans. This thesis will focus primarily on their experiences during the 1920s, the years surrounding the doctrinal debates, and it will reach the conclusion that their savvy use of media and new technologies created a situation in which the theological differences that divided them actually fostered a mutual desire to embrace innovative platforms as new avenues to promulgate their respective messages. These findings complicate the dualistic nature of the term "Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy", and in this regard, they corroborate recent scholarship seeking to expand our understanding of these early 20th century religious debates.


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 1

Part I: Early Lives and the Changing Protestant Pastorate............................................................. 6

Early Lives................................................................................................................................... 6

Changing Role of the Pastorate in America............................................................................... 11

Part II: World War I, the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy, and Radio............................. 18

World War I............................................................................................................................... 18

Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy................................................................................... 30

Firing Shots........................................................................................................................... 30

Use of New Media.................................................................................................................. 41

Mixed Results......................................................................................................................... 51

Radio.......................................................................................................................................... 54

Part III: The Protestant Pastorate Diverges.................................................................................. 61

The "Moral Muddle" of the 20th century Pastorate.................................................................. 61

Epilogue..................................................................................................................................... 68

Bibliography.................................................................................................................................. 74

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